Implementing global mission statement to 'take time'

(Photo: World Council of Churches)Participants in a meeting of the WCC Commission on World Mission and Evangelism, held in Rarotonga, Cook Islands are seen in a file photo. The gathering took place from March 8 to 13.

A global church body official says implementing the organization's new mission statement across its member churches will "take time."

The Rev. Dr. Jooseop Keum, secretary for the World Council of Churches' Commission on World Mission and Evangelism explained the recent work of participants at a CWME meeting in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.

"A challenge for new CWME members coming in after the WCC assembly will be to make sure that the 'new missiology of life' in the statement is translated into concrete actions," the Rev. Keum said in a WCC report.

"Implementation of this statement will take time, and it needs to be incorporated at various levels within the structures of churches and mission actors."

The CWME group developed study and policy guidelines, as well as training modules related to the statement, with the aim of making the statement relevant to congregations.

The statement, called "Together towards life: Mission and Evangelism in Changing Landscape," has undergone numerous drafts and will be presented in October in its final form at the WCC 10th Assembly in Busan, Korea.

The document draws from Protestant, Evangelical, Orthodox and Roman Catholic mission theologies.

The aim of the new mission statement is to have a broad appeal, even wider than WCC member churches and affiliated mission bodies.

Part of the statement includes a section on "mission from the margins," as opposed to "mission from the center."

The statement declares that while mission from the center "is motivated by an attitude of paternalism and a superiority complex," mission from the margins recognizes that "[m]arginalized people have God-given gifts that are under-utilized because of disempowerment, and denial of access to opportunities and/or justice."

The statement also deals with various expressions of evangelism, including preaching of the gospel in combination with visible action that "bears witness to God's revelation in Jesus Christ and of his purposes."

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